Historical Fiction

The Pitfalls of Historical Fiction by Marci Jefferson (Plus a giveaway!)

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Guest Post, Historical Fiction, Writing | 2 comments

The Pitfalls of Historical Fiction by Marci Jefferson (Plus a giveaway!)

It’s always exciting to me when we get an author to represent something previously undiscussed on Pen and Muse. Today, Marci Jefferson, author of GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN is dropping in to talk about: historical fiction.  Confession? (This is how you know it’s Muse KJ, by the way. I confess way too much to y’all.) I love historical fiction. I even talked to Big Five editor about a series idea I had planned. She loved it…. And then I had to start researching. And then I said “Yeah, I’m going back to young adult for now.” Maybe I’ll make it to that series someday – for now I’ll stick to reading it, and soaking in advice from historical fiction authors like Marci. Thanks Marci for stopping by today! Historical Fiction is a fantastic genre where history can be told in fictional narrative. I’ve been researching and writing historical fiction for several years, and I have a grand total of one completed novel to my name. That novel is GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN, A NOVEL OF FRANCES STUART. It was a labor of love. The truth is, I absolutely love and adore history. I love the decadence and tragedy of the Stuart Royals, and can’t get enough of the Baroque royal courts. So during those many, many years of researching and writing, I spent rather a lot of time actually *researching.* Researching was a pitfall for me. I call it researchitis. As a nurse, I don’t have a background in historical studies. So I read everything about the seventeenth century that I could get my hands on, from contemporary diaries, architectural histories, to biographies. Then I looked up all the sources cited in the biographies and tried to get my hands on those! Every little random bit of information just fascinated me, such as the history of the houses on London bridge, and how queens took a bath at Whitehall Palace, and especially the luxurious court fashions. I hope that some of this research enriches my novel, and hope it does not bog it down. But my research certainly did bog down my writing life. There were days and weeks at a time that I didn’t write at all because of research. And as every writer knows (or should know), you have to exercise the writing muscle every single day to hone your skill. So my advice to anyone interested in writing historical fiction is to spend at least as much time focused on the work of crafting fiction as you do the history itself. I’d love to hear from Pen and Muse readers – do any of you get caught up in research as you craft fiction? Giveaway! GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN will be released by St. Martin’s press in February, but you can win one of fifty free copies on this Goodreads giveaway! Girl On The Golden Coin Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war. Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence...

Read More

New Release Tuesday: 4/2/2013

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Genres, Historical Fiction, New Adult, Reading, Romance, Young Adult | 2 comments

New Release Tuesday: 4/2/2013

Welcome to another installment of New Release Tuesday. This week includes a book I’ve been waiting WAY too long for (The Collector) and several that look fantastic! Browse through and let me know which new releases, the week of 4/2/2013, you’re most excited for. What do you think of the tattoo on Walking Disaster? YA Fantasy The Collector  by Victoria Scott Goodreads blurb: He makes good girls…bad.  Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag. Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days. Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried. Where to buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble   The Rising by Kelley Armstrong Goodreads blurb: Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help. All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control. But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever. Where to buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble    NA Romance  Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire Goodreads blurb: Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much? Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder. In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees. Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes. Where to buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble Romantic Suspense Surrender by Stephanie Tyler Goodreads blurb: DESPERATE, FEARLESS, AND HUNTED For former Navy SEAL Dare O’Rourke, Section 8 was legendary. The son of one of its missing members, he grew up in the shadow of its secrets. All he knew was that it was a cabal of operatives discharged from branches of the military and reassigned to extremely dangerous, off- the-books international missions. And that their handler was as shrouded in mystery as the missions themselves. NOTHING CAN STOP THEM. NOTHING CAN BREAK THEM. Now the handler of Section 8 has given orders to kill any remaining members, along with their families. Dare must save his long-lost half sister, Avery, whom he was never meant to meet....

Read More

Basic Story Plots- Quest

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Basic Plot Points, Children's, Genres, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, New Adult, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Thriller, Westerns, Writing, Young Adult | 2 comments

Basic Story Plots- Quest

There comes a time in every writer’s life where you’re about to start another project and you’re faced with a tough question: Which plot am I going with? Is your new project all about revenge? Is it a story about a change or metamorphosis? Is it a Romeo and Juliet story about a forbidden love? Either way, welcome to the second installment of Pen and Muse’s Basic Story Plots project. Each week we want to introduce you to a different plot point. Hopefully we can help and be that swift kick in the inspiration booty that you need.  It doesn’t matter if this is your 20th novel, your first novel, or your very first flash fiction. If there’s no plot, there’s no story. This week’s basic plot point is: Quest Details: Quest plots involve your protagonist / main characters being on the search for something. Whether it be person, place, thing, animal, or mineral, your protagonist will not rest until it’s found, obtained, or resolved. Traditionally, the quest story has three facets that seem to be ever-present: The Motivator or motivating situation- In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry gets his Hogwarts acceptance letter. In The Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers as tribute after her sister’s name is picked. It’s always a good idea to start your story as close as possible to the starting action. The Journey- This is where everything takes place. This is the part that will hopefully ensure your reader can’t put your book down. Your reader at this point should understand that the journey is about to take place, and should understand why this journey is happening / where the protagonist is going. They may have no clue about all the hardships you’ve planned for your MC or who dies (if anyone), but they need to know the journey has commenced and why it’s important. Tell the story. Make your protagonist wallow through that swamp of sadness, barely escape pirates, or be pursued by crooks in search of treasure. In Defiance, the journey begins when Rachel and Logan head into the Wasteland. In Harry Potter, the journey starts at Harry’s term at Hogwarts for the school year. In The Hobbit, this is when Bilbo Baggins decides to go along with Gandalf and the other dwarves. The Goal- Normally at the end or towards the end of your book, the goal needs to be addressed. Did the protagonist meet their goals? Did they fail? Did they realize that they only accomplished half of it? Or does the protagonist have multiple goals, accomplishing one and ending the novel one step closer to the other goal? For example, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry finds the Sorcerer’s Stone. He thwarts Voldemort’s evil plan but he doesn’t destroy Voldemort. This leaves his stretch goal still unfulfilled and perfect for a sequel, but his immediate goals and journey were met.   Other reading material with a Quest plot: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (Fantasy) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Fantasy) The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordon (Fantasy) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Urban Fantasy)   What are your favorite quest plot novels? What tips do you have for someone writing a quest novel? Let us know in the comments below!  ...

Read More

Book Blitz: Forty Days

Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in Historical Fiction, Reading, Romance | 0 comments

Book Blitz: Forty Days

Book Blitz: Forty Days by Stephanie Parent Remember the cover reveal for Forty Days? Since so many of you were excited about Stephanie’s cover reveal, we thought we’d give you a little more information about the novel…and an exciting excerpt! We’re still swooning over this gorgeous cover!   Forty Days by Stephanie Parent Series: Neima’s Ark #1 Publication date: February 12th 2013 The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic… …until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive? With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story. FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending. Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet. Purchase at Amazon Excerpt of Forty Days Mouths are moving, people must be screaming, the trembling goats beside me must be squealing, but the only sounds left in the world are the crash of water and wind and the boom of thunder. I urge the goats forward, but as soon as they find their footing they slip again, and I do as well. It takes all my attention just to make some slow progress toward the ark, dragging the goats behind me, and I have to narrow my eyes against the increasingly sharp barbs of the raindrops. So I don’t even try to see what’s going on with my father and Noah, Munzir and the ruined fire. And I don’t see the shape approaching me as I stumble onward, till I’m only a few steps from the ark’s open doors— —and a cold, wet hand grabs my arm. It’s Jorin, his eyes wide and his lips moving furiously, though I can’t make out a single word. I try to pull away from him and he just comes closer, his mouth moving even faster; every minute facet of his expression beseeches me to listen, to understand. I’m doing my best to hold on to my anger against him, but it’s slipping away, a mere gust of hot air that means nothing as the world breaks into pieces around us. And then I no longer care what he’s saying; I only want to tell him: Go back, now, while you can still cross the river. I hope your home is strong. Stay safe. I must be speaking aloud, for Jorin’s lips have stopped moving and he’s leaning even closer, as though he can pluck my words out of the wind. Then a hand grabs my other arm—Father. He takes the goats’ tethers from me and pulls me away from Jorin, into the...

Read More

Waiting on Wednesday: Weather Witch by Shannon Delany

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Genres, Historical Fiction, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Waiting on Wednesday, Young Adult | 0 comments

Waiting on Wednesday: Weather Witch by Shannon Delany

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. This week, it’s all about Weather Witch from one of Muse Jolene’s favorite authors Shannon Delany. Shannon has written multiple books including 13 to Life, Secrets and Shadows, Bargains and Betrayals, and more! She’s also contributed to several brilliant anthologies. Check out her amazing new Steampunk novel!   Weather Witch By: Shannon Delany Publication date: Tuesday, June 25th 2013 Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Goodreads blurb: In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets! Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world! But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch. Gah! Doesn’t this look and sound so good?! I’ve never even read a steampunk novel before, but I think this will be the novel that converts me! Just in case you’ll be pre-ordering it like me, I’ve included the links to do so here. Enjoy! Pre-order at Barnes and Noble     Pre-order at Books-A-Million  Pre-order at Book Depository     Pre-order at Amazon Pre-order at Powell’s Books What books are you waiting on? I’d love to know in the comments below!...

Read More

Cover Reveal: Forty Days by Stephanie Parent

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Genres, Historical Fiction, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Young Adult | 2 comments

Cover Reveal: Forty Days by Stephanie Parent

Cover Reveal: Forty Days Hi guys! We’re lucky enough to be able to post a cover reveal for “Forty Days” by Stephanie Parent. It’s actually part of a two book series called Neima’s Ark. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? I know what you’re thinking. When does it come out?! Find out the information below. Forty Days (Neima’s Ark, Book One) Release Date: 02/12/13 Genre: YA Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Summary from Goodreads: The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth.  He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge.  But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic… …until the rain starts.  And doesn’t stop.  Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril.  Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive? With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, Forty Days is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story. Forty Days is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story.  It does contain a cliffhanger ending. Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that Forty Days may not appeal to them.  The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet. About the Author: Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block’s WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold. Author Links: Blog / Goodreads / Twitter What do you guys think of the cover? Let us know in the comments below!...

Read More